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Depression for Dad

According to a meta-analysis published in the May 19, 2010 issue of JAMA, about 10% of new fathers are affected by prenatal and postpartum depression.

James F. Paulson, PhD, and Sharnail D. Bazemore, MS, of Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, reviewed the medical literature related to depression in fathers during the period between the first trimester of their significant other's pregnancy and the first year postpartum. A total of 43 studies including 28,004 participants were included in their analysis.

The estimated rate of depression in the fathers was 10.4%, although the individual studies varied quite a bit. The highest rate of depression was 25.6% in the period three to six months following the birth of their child, while the lowest rate was 7.7% during the first three months after birth. Studies using using interview-based methods to define cases had a lower reported prevalance (4.9%) compared to those cases identified using rating scales (11.0%).

This study adds to a growing body of evidence that fathers also experience depression associated with the birth of a child, which may have adverse effects on the individual, his child and his family.

The study authors suggest that further research is needed, including studies looking at the interplay between the mother's depression and the father's.

Posted in General Psychiatric Care

By Nancy Schimelpfening, Depression Guide